If you are buying your first home, getting insurance is a necessary step; one which your mortgage provider will insist on as a condition of eligibility.
Choosing the right cover and understanding how to make the most of your homeowners insurance once you have it is tricky for newcomers, but this brief guide should bring you up to speed.
Before anything else, you need to know what common disasters a typical homeowners insurance policy will protect you against, and more importantly what will not be covered as standard.
There is a lot of variety from policy to policy and provider to provider, but at a basic level, you can assume that you will be able to make a claim if the interior or exterior of your property is damaged, with the insurer paying for some or all of the costs of repairs.
Likewise, a good policy will include cover for theft of your possessions, as well as for personal liability, shielding you from the ramifications of accidents that result in injuries on your property.
How do you file a claim?
Most importantly, when you know that the time has come to file a claim with your insurance provider, it is best to do it quickly. The longer you wait, the harder it will be for you to state your case, and there are of course limits on home insurance claims which impact how much you can get back in the long run.
You should also alert the relevant authorities so that you have evidence to support your claim. In the event of theft or vandalism, for example, contacting the police to report this is essential.
If your home is damaged and needs to be repaired after some other disaster, do not wait for the insurance money to roll in; instead make temporary repairs to protect your property as much as possible, as failing to do so could forfeit your right to claim anyway.
Last but not least, do your best to document everything that happens and retain all of the invoices and receipts relating to costs you incur, as once again this will not only support your claim but also allow you to receive the right amount from your insurer.
Which homeowners insurance providers are most reputable?
If you are a new home buyer, then picking a homeowners insurance policy that is not only within your budget and offers the right level of protection, but also comes from a provider with a good track record for supporting customers is sensible.
The best way to go about this is to do plenty of research online, talk to friends and family to find out about their experiences with providers, and if in doubt consult an insurance broker or other industry specialist to get impartial, expert advice.
Finally, do not rush into picking a policy, but take your time to weigh up your options to avoid problems further down the line.